FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 17, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) — Our nation, since the early 1900’s, has sought the enactment of policies that improve both the health of our citizens and the quality of our health care system. Congresses and Presidents of both parties have advanced fundamental and comprehensive reforms of our healthcare system. Throughout this 100 year journey, there have been many changes to our health care system. The most notable changes were the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the sustainable growth rate (SGR) in 1997, and the creation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Medicare Part D) in 2003.
Some of these changes have proven beneficial and others have failed to meet their desired outcome. Almost all of them were controversial when proposed, but some, like Medicare, became very popular once implemented. At no point in our history has there been one definitive health care policy enacted into law - health care reform in the United States is an ongoing, evolutionary effort.
The Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) will facilitate significant changes in our health care system. Change is difficult and the uncertainty of what lies ahead rightfully raises concerns for individuals, states, employers, the federal government, and physicians. However, the new law extends access to health care for millions of previously uninsured and underinsured individuals, provides new protections for individuals that prevent insurance companies from unfairly denying or rescinding coverage, places a renewed emphasis on delivery system reforms that promote primary care, general surgery, and prevention, and begins the process of slowing the escalating costs of health care for both individuals, payers, and the federal government. These policies have been advanced in a bipartisan manner for the past decade and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) believes that they should not be overlooked or undervalued.
The current state of our health care system did not happen overnight and it will not correct itself in the short term. It will take years to transform our health care system to one that is financially sustainable, capable of delivering high-quality care to all patients, and restores the patient-physician relationship to the core of our health care system. The Affordable Care Act made fundamental and important changes in our health care system that will improve the health of our patients individually and our nation as a whole.
However, there are still many improvements that can be made. Health care reform is, and should remain, an ongoing effort. To this end, the AOA urges Congress and the Administration to work in a bipartisan manner to improve and build upon the law. Specifically, we urge the enactment of the following policies:
Meaningful and comprehensive medical liability reforms
A new Medicare payment formula for physicians – thus ending a decade of volatility as a result of the sustainable growth rate (SGR)
Reforms that provide Congress greater involvement and oversight of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
Modifying the 1099 tax reporting requirement for small businesses
Eliminating the requirement that physicians provide written authorization for over-the-counter medications reimbursed through a flexible spending account
The AOA and our members are eager to work, in a bipartisan manner, with Congress and the Administration on identifying, developing, and enacting policies that will further advance access to affordable and quality health care for individuals, improve our nation’s health care system, and reduce the overall costs of health care.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association proudly represents more than 70,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) practicing in 31 specialties and subspecialties, promotes public health, encourages scientific research, serves as the primary certifying body for DOs is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical colleges; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
Director of Government Relations